Recent studies show an “alarming” correlation between the rising consumption of highly processed foods such as sliced white bread and sugary soft drinks and the increase in the rate of premature deaths.
According to the findings of the study, increased consumption of highly processed foods is responsible for more than 10% of the premature deaths.
The findings of the study that was published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine indicate that ultra-processed foods accounted for around 57,000 premature deaths in South America alone in 2019.
“To our knowledge, no study to date has estimated the potential impact of UPFs on premature deaths. Knowing the deaths attributable to the consumption of these foods and modeling how changes in dietary patterns can support more effective food policies might prevent disease and premature deaths,” study co-author Dr. Eduardo Nilson said.
The ultra-processed foods that are commonly consumed in modern diets include products like packaged baked snacks, ready-to-eat meals, frozen pizza, sugary drinks, and cereals. However, a growing number of studies have linked these foods to a variety of undesirable health conditions, such as obesity, dementia, and cancer.
In addition to this, researchers have shown that UPFs are deficient in protein and fiber while being rich in added sugar, fat, and salt.
According to Dr. Nilson’s explanation, “Consumption of UPFs is associated with many disease outcomes, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some cancers, and other diseases, and it represents a significant cause of preventable and premature deaths among Brazilian adults.”
The effect of these foods would be significantly higher in high-income nations like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, where UPFs account for more than 50% of total calorie consumption.
A number of different initiatives and public health measures would be required to bring down the soaring consumption of UPFs all over the globe.
These measures include strategies to increase consumer understanding, attitudes, and behavior, as well as fiscal and regulatory policies for modifying food environments and enhancing the implementation of food-based dietary guidelines.